Olympic great Simone Biles shouts out Clemson decision to add gymnastics

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Clemson’s announcement on adding women’s lacrosse and women’s gymnastics had generated a lot of buzz in the hours after athletic director Dan Radakovich made the news public Thursday morning.

Having someone like American gymnast Simone Biles talking about it was just icing on the cake.

“you guys need help?? I know some people!!!!!” she wrote on Twitter in a message that garnered 14 replies, mostly from Clemson fans, 152 retweets and 970 likes in the first hour.

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In May, Biles, who has won a record 19 gold medals, generated her own buzz. She added to her legacy by becoming the first woman to land the Yurchenko double pike on the vault during her first competition in over a year. She continued to make history June 6 by winning a record seventh U.S. senior women’s all-around title.

The 23-year-old plans to compete in the upcoming Olympics and is considering retiring afterward.

Because of people like Biles, both gymnastics and lacrosse are growing sports for women, and Clemson is looking to join the trend. According to a study from Statista, the number of children ages 6-12 who participate in gymnastics has been on the rise, going from 2.7% to 3.6% between 2015 and 2019.

Sports Media Watch reported the NCAA women’s gymnastics championship, which aired on ABC for the first time ever, averaged a 0.52 rating with 808,000 viewers in April. The viewership was a 510% increase from the last time the event was held in 2019.

Lacrosse has become one of the sports in the country with the ACC leading the charge. A team from the conference has made the national championship match in each of the past nine tournaments. This past season, the title match featured two ACC schools in Syracuse and Boston College, making its fourth straight title appearance, with the Eagles taking the crown. North Carolina was a No. 1 seed heading into the tournament and made the Final Four before falling to Boston College.

While it’ll be a few years before the sports are set to go on Clemson’s campus, the school has had good luck recently with new programs. Softball was added in 2017 and made its spring debut in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, shut the season down early, but the Tigers came back in 2021 and set high marks in its first full campaign.

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